Nearly all of my local clients, at one point or another, have asked the same question “why is my customer’s Google review not showing up”? In fact, the most recent one was due to the customer posting a review including the fact that she was a police officer. Yep, once she removed that bit of personal information, Google published the review. It’s not always that simple though!
While there is no single answer, many times, it is something that can be corrected.
Let’s talk about the possible reasons why a Google review is not showing:
Your business has not officially opened yet.
If you created your Google Business Profile and set a future date for the opening, any
review that was left for your business prior to the opening date will be removed.
The review included prohibited content as defined by Google.
- Harassment – we all know what this means, but for the sake of argument, a harassing review is content that would make a reasonable person feel uncomfortable and possibly fear for their safety.
- Hate Speech – if you’ve been on social media in the last, well… 10 seconds, you have likely witnessed some form of hate speech. Any content that defies the laws regarding protected classes will be rejected permanently.
- Offensive Content – The definition of ‘offensive’ is likely different for all of us, but to Google, it means posting content that is deliberate and provocative, unethical or contains criminal wrongdoing.
- Personal Information – This is one that I have seen many times. Customers writing reviews and including personal information. Google’s content policy refers to confidential information that includes credit card details, medical records, or government-issued identification, but it is not all-inclusive.
- Fake engagement – Google considers this, as well as f, g, & h below, to be deceptive content and will remove it. It specifically states that paying for reviews or encouraging reviews by incentivizing them, content posted by a competitor to harm the business’ reputation, content that has been posted by more than one account, and content that is not based on a real experience with the business itself.
- Impersonation – Yep, you guessed it. Impersonating another person, group, or organization.
- Misinformation – This category correlates with some of the others, but Google thought it was important enough to give it undivided attention. This is content that is meant to be deceptive, misleading health information, medical or civic processes, content that is meant to harm events that have the media’s attention, and content that has been manipulated by the user to deceive and/or mislead others.
- Misrepresentation – Different from misinformation, misrepresentation is creating false accounts to provide misleading and deceptive information, distorting the facts, scamming other users, content that would be considered a conflict of interest, malicious software, phishing or baiting.
- Obscenity & Profanity – I do not feel the need to define this category. If your business received this type of review, you would most likely not be searching for an answer as to why the review is not showing up on Google.
- Sexually Explicit Content – ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑
- Adult-Themed Content – ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑
- Violence & Gore – ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑
- Restricted Content – This category is meant to control content that is posted on topics such as smoking/tobacco, guns, health and medical devices, adult services, financial services, alcohol/drinking, gambling, and of course, regulated pharmaceuticals.
- Dangerous Content – Content that is intended to be dangerous or content that is encouraging physical harm to the health, safety, property, and animals, or to the environment. Content encouraging minors to engage in dangerous activities facilitating the misuse of dangerous items.
- Illegal Content – If it’s illegal, don’t post it! This includes copyright, children and sexual abuse, human trafficking, illegal products including drugs, violent and graphic images and content produced by or on behalf of terrorist groups.
- Child Safety – I could go on and on here, but as a parent, I don’t feel the need to state why we should not post content that would be harmful or deceptive and risk endangering our children.
- Terrorist Content – Inciting, promoting, or celebrating violence or terrorist attacks.
- Off-Topic – If the reviewer did not post anything relevant to your business and the content seems ‘off-topic’, google will remove it.
- Advertising & Solicitation – Obviously, your Google Business Profile is meant to advertise your business, not for users to post content that is promotional or include confidential media information such as email addresses, phone numbers, social media links, or links to other websites. This is the most common type of review that gets flagged by Google, however, it may be easily restored if the reviewer is willing to go back in and remove any content that is prohibited.
- Gibberish & Repetitive Content – Kind of how I feel right now, but this stuff is important for your business. Users posting content repetitively, regardless of the language or how the characters are grouped will be removed.
Any content that is placed on Google’s properties that include the following may be rejected:
Your Google Business Profile Has an Issue
There are multiple issues that arise when business owners attempt to optimize their own business pages and many of them can have an effect on your Google reviews not showing up. I don’t say that to be insulting, but a mountain of problems can arise if it is not set up properly. Some of the problems that can potentially result in reviews being removed or hidden include:
- Google may have temporarily disabled reviews or may be having an outage (nothing you can do about this one!)
- Your Business Profile has incomplete or inaccurate information
- Your business has duplicate Google listings (very common when not performed by an optimization expert)
- Your Google listing is not active
- You just created the listing and/or have a brand-new business
- Reviews that have been marked as spam (generally by the business owner or search engine visitor), reviews that include links and URLs to other pages/websites, not an authentic review, 3rd party reviews (reviews that were posted on a different website/platform and have since been deleted will in turn be deleted from Google’s knowledge box), and deleted reviews. Back in the day, business owners and managers of Google business listings could mark reviews as private, but that option is long gone.
4. Your client and/or customer never posted the review
This is more common than one might believe. There are many business owners who are told by their customers that they wrote a review when in fact they never posted anything. Why? I have no idea. It could be a number of things, but one thing is for certain, if the review wasn’t posted, you are not going to see it!
We all know (or should know) by now how important it is for local businesses to be included across all of Google’s properties, particularly, Google Maps. Most people who are searching for a local service, restaurant, entertainment, etc. are looking at the listings at the top of Google’s map listings.
If you are not showing up when you type in your keyword + area or have concerns about your reviews or business listing in general, reach out to Akron SEO today for a free call. No strings attached. If you prefer to go at it on your own, feel free to take advantage of our complementary site audit tool. It will give you a good place to start if you are trying to increase your organic search engine rankings.